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Ex-husband – I did not kill Velorne!

Ex-husband – I did not kill Velorne!

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James Francis, ex-husband of the late Velorne Samuel, says he is innocent of any wrongdoing, and that he had nothing to do with the death of the mother of his children.{{more}}

Francis, in an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, says he wants to move on with his life and continue to support his three children.

Francis, a seaman, said that he was on duty on board his ship, just off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico, making his way back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the time of his ex-wife’s death.

“To be honest with you, I had absolutely nothing to do with this – I was never involved,” the distraught man said.

The couple had been married for 12 years, and according to Francis, in the months after their divorce was finalized in May this year, he has been trying to distance himself from his former wife, and get on with his life.

“But to say to kill her, or get someone to kill her, I was not involved,” he declared.

The ex-husband said that since returning to the country following Samuel’s death, some people have been meeting him and telling him about the rumours that have been going around.

“I said it doesn’t matter me, I just want a life to breathe.”

Samuel, 36, was shot multiple times about her body while she was on the back porch of her rented home at Evesham on the evening of Thursday, September 5.

According to Francis, his ship departed Cozumel around 6:30 p.m. on September 5 and arrived in Florida shortly after 5 a.m. on Saturday, having spent the entire day Friday, September 6, at sea.

The man provided SEARCHLIGHT with copies of his immigration records as evidence that he was not in the country when the tragic incident occurred.

He said that he was notified of his ex-wife’s death by way of an emergency call.

“After I got the call, my bosses and everybody were all concerned. They said in this situation, you have to go,” he explained, saying that he received compassionate leave and immediately left for St Vincent.

He arrived in the state on Sunday, September 8, he said.

Francis disclosed that he has been unable to function since being notified of what happened, especially during the first hours before he was granted leave.

“I couldn’t work – that said night (Friday) I didn’t work,” he said.

Regarding relations with his former wife, Francis said he maintained contact with his children while at sea and when he was able, he would call his children.

Francis declined to respond to questions about the state of his relationship with his former wife, immediately following the divorce in May, based on the advice of his lawyer, Joseph Delves, who was present during the interview. He also declined a request to be photographed.

Francis however said that since receiving the news, he has been depressed.

“I have been crying like almost every single day.”

“It’s my wife!” he declared.

“No matter that we were divorced, it’s still my wife in a sense; it’s my kids’ mother, so I have a lot of concern there – she was the one to bring up my kids,” he said.

Francis also said he did not know of a situation where Samuel may have had bad blood with anyone.

“She was a nice lady,” he said, adding that the news of Samuel’s death came as a total shock to him.

Francis said he has not been called in by the police for questioning, a point which his lawyer affirmed.

“I called the police and told the police that he was here, I told the police that I have seen his papers and he was on the ship,” Delves explained.

He said that the police responded that they did not have Francis as a person of interest in the case.

Police also confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT yesterday, that Francis is not a person of interest with regard to the shooting death of Samuel.

Francis, originally from Barrouallie, says that he does not have any immediate plans except to support his children, whom he said he has not seen since the divorce, and he also wants to clear his name of any wrong doing.

“I just want people to know that I am innocent,” he declared.

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